Aluminum tariffs continue to be a top advocacy issue for the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA).
In July, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) self-initiated an examination of whether imports of aluminum foil from South Korea and Thailand are circumventing antidumping and countervailing duty orders on aluminum foil from China. After DOC published the July 18 notice announcing the initiation of countrywide circumvention inquiries, FPA developed and launched a broad-based outreach campaign to engage members of Capitol Hill and sound the alarm that the flexible packaging industry was once again being unfairly targeted with unwarranted trade actions on aluminum foil.
Through these advocacy efforts, FPA government affairs and representatives from converter companies met with dozens of U.S. House and Senate members and their staff to educate and seek support for FPA’s position. This outreach resulted in numerous congressional phone calls, meetings, and letters to DOC requesting an explanation for its actions.
Members of Congress and their staff have been most concerned that—in addition to converter job losses—new tariffs will negatively impact consumers and the economy by threatening food and medical product security. At a time of unprecedented inflation, additional costs on these goods will increase supply chain disruptions and could result in a scarcity of food and beverage applications such as yogurt, juices, pet food, and candy. It also will impact health applications such as over-the-counter drugs, nutraceuticals, and COVID-19 testing kits, as well as medical device packaging such as absorbable sutures and surgery kits.
In addition to direct involvement by FPA member companies, FPA engaged a broad network of other trade groups that will be impacted by any potential tariffs. FPA provided messaging and materials for these groups to do their own outreach to Congress and the Biden administration, and FPA also secured an association letter to congressional leadership asking for Congress to weigh in with DOC on the critical unintended consequences of unfavorable trade actions.
In December, DOC extended the original deadlines for the preliminary and final determinations in these inquiries from December 15 and May 14 to February 28 and July 18, respectively. These extensions allowed FPA to continue and grow its related advocacy campaign over the first several months of the new 118th Congress that began January 3, 2023.
At the time of this writing, we await DOC’s preliminary determination on the case. Advocacy efforts with Congress and the Biden administration will continue to ensure DOC makes the most reasonable final determinations that will do the least possible amount of harm to the flexible packaging industry.